Multilectual Daily Online Magazine focusing on World Architecture, Travel, Photography, Interior Design, Vintage and Contemporary Fiction, Political cartoons, Craft Beer, All things Espresso, International coffee/ cafe's, occasional centrist politics and San Diego's Historic North Park by award-winning journalist Tom Shess
Thursday, February 12, 2015
RETRO FILES / JUST AN OLD LOVE LETTER
Frida Kahlo, 1937, photographed by Toni Frissell for Vogue Magazine article, "Senoras of Mexico" from the Library of Congress, American Art Archives
IN TIME FOR ST. VALENTINE’S DAY--Just how famous one must become
to when generations from now your love letters might be found catalogued in the
Library of Congress?
thumb for public domain items (no longer covered by copyrights) is about 75
years.In searching the LOC stacks
online after a recent visit in person to the hallowed halls, I miss-clicked looking for info on the recent Magna Carta exhibition and ended up finding a
love letter between artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and photographer Nickolas
Now, curious, I read the handwritten love letter that was penned by Kahlo when she was 32 years old on Feb.
27, 1939. She posted it from Paris to Muray in New York City."My Adorable Nick" is officially catalogued in the Archives of American Art.
affair is well documented in Salomon Grimberg’s book “I Will Never Forget You.”
from the Library of Congress, American Art Archives
(nee Miklos Mandl) emigrated to New York in 1913 from Hungary and post Ellis Island became Nickolas
Muray.He opened his professional photo
studio in 1920 and by mid-decade he was photographing the likes of Martha
Graham, Florence Reed, Langston Hughes, Helen Hayes, Paul Robeson, Babe Ruth,
James Joyce, Gloria Vanderbilt, Jean Cocteau and even Eugene O’Neill and
Nickolas Muray, 1932 by Carl Van Vechten Library of Congress
he and noted illustrator Miguel Covarrubias had become fast friends and
traveled to Mexico.On that trip Muray
met Frida Kahlo, a skilled artist and wife of icon Mexican artist Diego Rivera.
handsome and a skilled Olympic fencer (represented USA) Muray was physically
the opposite of Frida’s husband artist Diego Rivera.
year love affair between Nickolas and Frida ensued.And, it wasn’t until the early 1940s that it
broke off when he realized she would really never leave Rivera.
of the affection toward Muray is evident in the letter shown here as a paean to
St. Valentine’s Day.
Editor’s note: Because the Muray Estate still controls copyright to his images I will
not post any here, but you may go to his website http://nickolasmuray.com/
The website’s gallery shows
Muray’s remarkable portrait style, which includes easily recognized images of
James Joyce, Gretta Garbo, Cole Porter, D.H. Lawrence, George Bernard Shaw,
Langston Hughes, Charlie Chaplin and Babe Ruth, among others.Truly excellent portraits.He
continued celebrity/commercial photography late into his career and is one of the many
Hollywood studio photographers commissioned to take images of Marilyn Monroe and others. He died in 1965 in the midst of a fencing match.